Our recent review of one of the most expensive home theatre PC's on the planet, Steiger Dynamics' LEET Pure showed just what can be achieved if you throw the same budget as a mid-range PC at HTPC components. HTPCs are actually fairly common amongst PC enthusiasts and with Steam Machines looking to get in on the act too, the lounge has suddenly become just as relevant as the bedroom or entertainment room when it comes to computing.
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Our review focussed on the PC, of course, but the company is certainly unique and interesting enough to deserve a little more investigation. So we spoke to the CEO of Steiger Dynamics - Martin Gossner, about the founding of the company, its focus on HTPCs and what kind of people buy them.
bit-tech Where is the company based and when was it founded?
The company was founded in 2011 and registered as a Californian LLC in 2012. Our HQ is in Los Angeles, where all our core functions like R&D, Marketing, Sales, Manufacturing, and Support are based. It’s a great location because most of our partners are around the corner which allows us to quickly and efficiently test components and develop custom solutions. It is also a great environment of early adapters, people who are eager to try something new and are willing to provide constructive feedback.
bit-tech Why did you decide to focus on HTPCs – are they something that you’ve always been interested in?
I have always been a gamer and PC enthusiast but developed a strong passion for home entertainment as soon as I had my own apartment. It was as early as 1998 when I connected my desktop PC to my TV and sound system, routing long cables through the house. The TVs were so small back then that you couldn’t really use them for anything else than TV and video playback. Also the picture quality was horrible when using Scart and S-VHS composite cables.
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Nevertheless, I was always trying to find a way to combine all the different devices, cables, remotes and graphical user interfaces. And a dedicated Home Theater PC was generally the perfect solution to this problem. However, it was not until around 2 years ago when TVs started to became large, fast, and cheap enough to be used as a replacement for monitors, paving the way for a completely new living room experience. This was the time when the idea for STEIGER DYNAMICS was born and when we started to conceptualize the LEET Gaming Home Theater PC.
bit-tech What would you say are the main benefits your systems offer compared to a smart TV or Sky/cable box? Do you configure the system software to be useable as an HTPC?
Our vision is create systems which deliver the most immersive home entertainment experience possible. Our Windows-based systems can basically integrate all the functionality of today’s living room devices: HD Satellite and Cable TV, media center, home server, home automation, and high-end gaming functionality gets rid of all your devices, remotes, and cables.
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And they not only integrate it but do it better: We can watch and record up to 8 HD TV channels simultaneously or spread the signals to TVs in the house. When it comes to gaming and processing power, our base systems already outpace the new generations of consoles while our top-of-the line system is about 10 times faster than an Xbox One. This allows for fluent gameplay on the upcoming 4K/Ultra HD resolutions while the new consoles struggle to produce 1080p. Windows and the built-in DPI scaling function allows for a full-fledged use of an open operating system in a living room environment, and makes everything perfectly readable even on smaller TVs.